Bridgend Ravens travel to the Gnoll to face Neath on Friday evening, looking to get back on track following two closely fought defeats (7:30pm).
It was a battling performance for Bridgend last time out but second placed Carmarthen Quins edged them out 26-34. This followed another narrow reversal, at Parc y Scarlets against Llanelli by 23-18. Despite results, the performances have been vastly improved giving the Ravens faithful much to look forward to ahead of the merged league in the New Year.
After a promising start to the season, Neath suffered a run of six straight league defeats to leave them pillored to the bottom of the West division with sixteen points. Bridgend sit two places above with 21 points from four victories.
One of the aforementioned defeats was to Bridgend by 28-20 at the Morganstone Brewery Field. Despite losing prop Rhodri Apsee to an early red card, Bridgend triumphed largely thanks to two scores from wing Aaron Grabham. The All Blacks' form has been much improved lately - a hugely impressive win over Llandovery was followed by a narrow defeat at Parc y Scarlets against a strong Llanelli side. They'll head into Friday's match up looking to move away from the foot of the table.
In the back three, there's one change with Mike Powell coming in on the wing. He'll play alongside Ed Doe and former Neath man Grabham. In midfield, Nathan Edwards and Joseph Gatt continue their promising partnership. Ryan Evans and Connor Tantum are the half backs.
The front row sees Rhodri Apsee, Iestyn Merriman and Cai Lewis selected. Chris John and Kieran Martin pair up in the second row. Adam O’Driscoll, Zac O'Driscoll and Ashton Evans combine in the back row.
New signing Jonny Philips is thrust straight into action with his new club and is named amongst the replacements.
Bridgend Ravens XV: 15. Ed Doe 14. Aaron Grabham 13. Joseph Gatt 12. Nathan Edwards 11. Mike Powell 10. Ryan Evans 9. Connor Tantum
1. Rhodri Apsee 2. Iestyn Merriman 3. Cai Lewis 4.Chris John 5. Kieran Martin 6. Adam O'Driscoll 7. Zac O'Driscoll (capt) 8. Ashton Evans
Replacements: 16. Gareth Harvey 17. Owen Jordan 18. Garyn Daniel 19. Owain Lloyd 20.Tom Morgan 21. Will Baird 22. Joseph Scrivens 23. Jonny Phillips